Syracuse’s Hunter Woodhall to represent U.S. at 2016 Paralympic Games
Gold’s Gym would like to congratulate (Gold’s Gym Syracuse) member Hunter Woodhall on qualifying for the upcoming 2016 Paralympic Games.
Syracuse’s Hunter Woodhall is officially an Olympian.
The junior, who took first place in the Class 5A 400-meter race with a time of 48.04 this spring, was one of 66 athletes, joining David Blair from Eagle Mountain, chosen to represent Team USA in track and field at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from Sept. 7-18.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Woodhall said. “Throughout the years it’s started to become more of a realistic dream, but when I was younger it definitely wasn’t something I would have ever dreamed about.”
Woodhall placed third in both of his events at the national trials to earn his spot on Team USA after a long process of moving up what he referred to as “step ladder” of numerous races. He said he didn’t run the best races of his life, but added “the only point of trials is to get your spot to Rio.”
According to Woodhall, he’s the youngest competitor in his classification to qualify.
“I think it gives me something to strive for,” he said. “These athletes are obviously a lot older than me, so they might have more experience than me, but I think the time I’ve put in, I’m a lot more confident. I have respect for the other competitors, but also respect for myself knowing I can run with these guys.”
Woodhall was born with a bone deficiency that prevented him from walking. His parents made the decision to amputate his legs, which were deformed, when he was 1 year old and “thereafter I got my prosthetics and started trying to live a normal life,” he said.
Woodhall said his passion for running was inspired from his brothers, and from there it was a “long journey” to get to Rio. Woodhall said it is a prime example that nothing is impossible.
“You’ve got to put your mind to it regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt. It’s about mindset. It’s about how you look at the problem and overcome it,” Woodhall said. “A lot of people look at me and see the situation I’ve been dealt, and they feel bad for me. I see it as an opportunity to do some amazing things and maybe inspire somebody else to accomplish their dreams.”
written by tphibbs of the Salt Lake Tribune